Living in the middle: cyclothymia and demisexuality

tw// suicide, sex

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Dear readers,

I have no idea where I am going with this. I am just writing everything down as it comes through my brain, as if it could somehow help me ease the whole thing. I do have a lot to say today, but don’t know how to say it. So let’s start quickly and talk about what really bothers me: how I always lived in the middle, in this weird and forgotten part of everything.

It’s funny to see how all my life, I have been feeling left out. I always had two friends and both of them always left me in the end. I never knew what I liked growing up, if I was more a flower dress girl or a black jeans ripped one, if I was someone who was pessimistic or more optimistic. And it was even more weird how all my feelings didn’t work out with everything else: I never felt attracted to anyone and my emotions were a wreck, but not enough to be something very serious (well, that’s what they said).

I grew up angry, lonely. I had no idea who I was, to whom I was attracted, what I liked, how I felt. Nothing ever made sense, and feeling all of this while being a teenager is even worse: it’s the perfect time for your brain to decide that you are everything and nothing at all. Thanks a lot, adolescence.

The therapists weren’t helping either. They were talking a lot about depression, bipolar disorders and many other things that I understood but couldn’t feel. It wasn’t it. It never was. So why on earth was nobody getting me?

After I tried to kill myself, a psychologist finally understood what I was suffering from: cyclothymia. I remember smiling a bit because for once, it felt right. That was it. That was me.

What Wikipedia says about it:

Cyclothymia (/ˌsklˈθmiə/), also called cyclothymic disorder, is a type of chronic mood disorder widely considered to be a more chronic but milder or subthreshold form of bipolar disorder. Cyclothymia is characterized by numerous mood swings, with periods of hypomanic symptoms that do not meet criteria for a manic episode, alternating with periods of mild or moderate symptoms of depression that do not meet criteria for a major depressive episode.

An individual with cyclothymia may feel stable at a baseline level but experience a noticeable shift to an emotional high during subthreshold hypomanic episodes of elation or euphoria, with symptoms similar to those of mania but less severe, and often cycle to emotional lows with moderate depressive symptoms. To meet the diagnostic criteria for cyclothymia, a person must experience this alternating pattern of emotional highs and lows for a period of at least two years with no more than two consecutive symptom-free months.

However, as I was happy with this diagnostic, I realised that people around me didn’t understand it. As I explain what it is, most people always answer, “yeah, so you have mood swings like every one”. Suddenly, I was back in the middle: I wasn’t too depressed to be bipolar and I wasn’t too well to not suffer from a mental illness. And that’s what people don’t understand.

The same thing happened when it came to my sexuality. As I grew up, I asked myself many questions: was I straight? gay? bi? asexual? Nothing felt right. I always crushed on boys but never was attracted to them, but I felt even less for girls. So what was I? Why was I so disguted by sex everytime? I am going to be honest here: I tried to watch porn and it only made me throw up. Why was I like this?

One day, a friend told me about demisexuality and again, it made sense. That was me.

What the Internet says about it:

A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality. In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to someone else (whether the feelings are romantic love or deep friendship), the demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire, but only towards the specific partner or partners.

When describing demisexuality as an orientation to sexuals, sexuals often mistake it as an admirable choice rather than an innate orientation. Demisexuals are not choosing to abstain; they simply lack sexual attraction until a close relationship is formed.

And as many of my friends understood, a lot of other people didn’t. “So… you’re just normal? Not having sex before knowing the person is pretty normal,” they say, seeing how hurt I was nonetheless.

Once, I posted a picture of myself during the demisexuality day for the month of sexualities and a girl attacked me, saying I wasnt part of the LGBTQIA+ community (I don’t feel like I belong in this community, since I’m still somehow attracted only to boys) but I wasn’t even trying to do so. It was just our day, and so I explained it to her and she answered, “stop trying to get attention for not fucking with everyone”. It made me cry for an hour, and some more.

Because it’s not as if it was a choice, as if I wanted to not have sex with anyone. It’s just that I can’t feel this attraction. I shared my first kiss with a boy I liked nothing about, hoping it’ll get better once we’d kissed, but it didn’t. I threw up a bit after and got bored throughout the whole kiss. It was awful and I didn’t ask to be like that. Once again, I wasn’t too attracted to be able to be like non-asexual people but not too much asexual to be one too. I was stuck in the middle, forever stuck in this area which no one seemed to understand.

I’m going to be honest: living in the middle is very frustrating. I stopped talking about demisexuality online and to people, promising myself to only talk about it to my close friends and future lover, and don’t bring the world cyclothymia a lot either, unless I know it’s safe for me to do so (the Internet is safe for that). And you know what? It sucks. It sucks that I can’t be proud of who I am and talk about what I feel because people out there don’t understand what I am going through. I am not asking for pity or else, just for people to recognised it, my sexuality and mental illness. I just want to be seen for who I am.

I’m not saying I’m miserable or anything. Many people live worse, I really know that, especially for the sexuality part.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, even though I wished I could talk about it freely, I still am okay today. I know I love flower dresses and black ripped jeans, musicals and metal music. I know why I am not attracted to people and why my brain is acting weird most of the times.

I know how hard it is to not know who we are (and you don’t have to be cyclothymic or demisexual to live it) but I promise: you’re getting there. Growing up is like meeting a new person and discovering every little things that make them. You’ll be amazed by some of it (I actually am a very serious person) and sometimes pissed off by some parts (I also am very impatient and can be pretty selfish), but it’ll feel okay. You’ll fall in love with yourself somehow, and that’s an amazing feeling.

I still have a lot of things to learn about myself, but you know what? I’m proud of who I am and I love myself for who I really am, a person forever but happily stuck in the middle.

Love always,

Clara

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12 thoughts on “Living in the middle: cyclothymia and demisexuality”

  1. I’m really proud of you, baby. For not being ashamed of who you are and for telling it to the world. You’ve been through hell and everything’s going to be alright now. Because you’re fucking strong. And being in the middle is okay. You’re more than okay.
    Love ya.

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  2. Wow. This post blew me away. Thank you for being so honest. I’m not saying you have to, but I would love for you to keep talking about it—who knows who you could help. Love your Insta, keep up the good work ❤

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  3. I’ve only followed you on Instagram for about two months but I feel like every word you say is practically mine (and I’m sorry if that sounds out of place). While I was growing up I also felt like you’ve described, despite not suffering from depression. I’ve always felt out of place. I’ve never visited a specialist to know what happens to me but what you have written resonates with me so much.

    But especially about your sexuality. I’m 24yrs now and I’ve never been with anyone, I haven’t had a boyfriend either. I’m a curious person, so I’ve watched porn too to see how it was and I didn’t like it, and actually, I don’t even like to talk about sex, but I always feel like I’m missing something. Many people say how good sex is, how awesome it is to be in a relationship with someone and I want that too but I can’t feel it. I want to fully trust someone before having sex with that person.

    I’m glad you were brave to talk about this because I would never have understood what I was feeling until I read your post. I think you’re amazing by the way. I know I might be late but I saw your post about your body problems and I just want to tell you that you are beautiful, you are such a good and kind person, and I hope you can overcome this, not to have a “perfect” body but because you must accept that you are beautiful with your uniqueness and to be healthy.

    P.S. In my country, with your body type people will think you’re hot.
    P.S.S Sorry for the long comment.

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  4. Clara, thank you so much for this post. I really admire your honesty, your courage, and your strength! I’m sorry you can’t put yourself out there and I just wish that people would be more understanding. But I’m glad you found a safe space in the internet, and that ultimately you felt safe enough to share this!

    Because it definitely helped me more than I could’ve expected. In your description of cyclothymia, I might have finally found the answer I was looking for because in the past years I definitely haven’t been okay, but never felt like my issues were… ‘bad’ enough to qualify as the mental illnesses I knew about, which made me feel like a fraud sometimes. I hope this is not offensive to you or anything, but I really identify with what you said and it really helps to have even an idea of what it might be.

    Sending you lots of love ♥

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    1. Thank YOU so much for this comment!

      If you ever think you may suffer from cyclothymia, you may want to seek help from a psychiatrist to be sure. It is a mental illness and being diagnosticated helps a lot. But it’s all up to you, of course!

      I am sending you tons of love! x

      Like

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